Keystone Pipeline helps EVERYONE!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
posted by elizabeth @ 2:44 PM

What do jobs, dividends, property taxes and the Keystone Pipeline have to do with one another? They are all good for retirees, workers with retirement accounts, unions, the U.S. economy and Houston.

The Keystone Pipeline is projected to create thousands of jobs. Numbers for direct jobs vary. On the high side, some say it could create as many as 20,000 direct jobs. Some opponents have belittled the jobs that the project has and will create. They say the construction jobs are short-term and no big deal. One comment went so far as to say that it might provide low wage jobs such as janitors, but we should focus on jobs that matter. Tell that to the union members working on the project who are skilled workers, tradesmen and craftsmen. They appreciate the opportunity to work on the project and the income they are earning. At a recent Congressional hearing Brent Booker, Secretary Treasurer, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, testified in favor of the project, “America’s Building Trades Unions emphatically support the construction of the Keystone pipeline.” These are the shovel ready jobs that the President promised. And, for anyone to say that a job as a janitor is not important, they missed some basic facts of life growing up. I worked as a janitor at one time. I appreciated having that job and the economic opportunities it provided me.

The project will also support economic opportunities for the companies directly or indirectly involved in it. This project will provide companies with profitability. That means dividends are paid, which will benefit current retirees, future retirees, union and non-union workers. What is a dividend? According to BusinessDictionary.com it is “a share of the after-profit of a company, distributed to its shareholders.” Those who are saving for retirement, both union and non-union, are likely to have some of their assets invested in companies benefiting directly or indirectly from the project. According to research analyst Daniel Clifton, with Strategies Research, companies that will benefit from the project, and pay dividends, include Deere & Co., Conoco, ExxonMobil, LyondellBassell and Valero. Without a doubt this will benefit Houston. Conoco’s headquarters are here. Valero has sizeable assets in Houston, which happen to be at the Port of Houston. Furthermore, ExxonMobil and LyondellBassell both have a strong presence in Houston.

One of the benefits of the project that does not seem to get as much attention is the money that the project will put in the coffers of governments, particularly state and local. Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence predict the project will “generate more than $585 million in new taxes for states and communities along the pipeline route” and “pay more than $5.2 billion in property taxes during the operating life of the pipeline.” At a time when most of the country is experiencing little to no economic growth, this tax money should be welcomed by all. Even in Texas, where we are experiencing a strong economy, local school boards, the State Legislature and our state leaders have had to deal with spending cuts in public education. Often times those who oppose projects like the Keystone Pipeline are the same people who want more money spent on public education. In this case, they need to decide if they want the economic prosperity that is created by the project. Do they want the thousands of jobs generated for American men and women, in all professions and industries, which in turn injects tax money into governments that helps pay for things like public education? Or do they want to continue down the path of economic stagnation?

Regardless of what the opposition to the project claims and predicts, the American people are strongly in favor of the project. In March, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll showing Republicans (82%), independents (70%) and Democrats (54%) supporting the project. Furthermore, the project has bipartisan support in Congress. When was the last time we saw that? Finally, when two of our local Congressman, from opposite sides of the political spectrum agree, Congressman John Culberson (Republican) and Congressman Gene Green (Democrat), that is evidence enough for me that this is a project that needs to be completed.

-Andrew Biar

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